How can we make Microsoft Teams better?

Compact mode

I really like Teams. I do. But the current chat layout is not suited for professional chats. It's way to space consuming. It looks like something imported from MSN with smiley's that take half of the screen. I would say that Slack have nailed it because they focused on the ability keeping a tight window with lots of chat text visible. In Teams the window is full and starts scrolling after like 10 sentences.

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    We’ll send you updates on this idea

    Thomas Nimstad shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    planned  ·  Suphatra responded  · 

    Hi everyone, thank you for your patience since the last update.

    We want to extend a huge thanks to all of you who have engaged with us on this topic of compact chat. Your input has been invaluable and helped inform our design and decision-making.

    As we look to 2019, we will be pursuing plans to continue to make the product more and more space efficient. We see this as a guiding design principle, as well as a backlog of requests from UserVoice that we catalogue, discuss, debate, brainstorm and problem solve.

    This principle is also why we will not be making a sharp design turn towards a permanently heavy dense design. Our user base is a wide range of people — such as high school students, the visually impaired, open source developers, and your every day knowledge worker. Because of our broad reach, we must maintain a standard of usability that meets many visual needs.

    Lastly, we are seriously considering a compact mode. This would be an option — a switch, you might say — that makes everything quite dense. We are entering a new phase of product development that makes this more possible than before. To that end, I’m changing the title of this request to “Compact Mode.” We’ll keep you abreast of these plans as we learn more ourselves.

    Meanwhile, we really appreciate your patience, your feedback, and your support of Teams. Thank you for being part of #MicrosoftTeams!



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      • Eric commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "Our user base is a wide range of people — such as high school students, the visually impaired, open source developers, and your every day knowledge worker. Because of our broad reach, we must maintain a standard of usability that meets many visual needs."

        Pure spin. You don't design an application from the 1% PoV, you design it for the 99%. The only group mentioned that even makes sense is visually impaired. Please name a single other product meant to be used by the masses that is designed from the ground up for such a specific group of individuals.

        And I can't add anything that hasn't been said below. Your response is disgraceful and look at the below, your customers are fighting their way away from Microsoft. *sigh* oh well.

      • Ross commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I stop in from time to time to see if Teams is getting anywhere and I can't say I'm surprised to find that it hasn't.

        To anyone reading this, if you aren't dependent on Microsoft Teams, I recommend switching to Slack, Discord, or some other competing service. Teams tries too hard to be "cute" instead of focusing on actual basic features that help with productivity and until Microsoft figures that out you'll just be wasting your time using it.

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Another milestone today. It is now 700 days since Microsoft first said they were working on this, the #1 UI request.

        Since then, they said:

        "We now have a design and are conducting 1:1 research testing with users." (2017-04-27)

        "We are working on changes that will be made in the coming weeks, and just need one last round of your input" (2017-06-07)

        "We spent months testing designs with users, reiterating concepts, and reading through your feedback, to make sure we could meet as many of your common needs as we could." (2017-09-22)

        "We are still working on this. There won’t be one huge update, but instead we will release small updates over time" (2018-02-12)

        "Great news everyone, we have made a first step towards a professional compact chat layout. We have released density changes including updates to how message threads collapse. :)" (2018-03-06)

        "we are seriously considering a compact mode" (2018-12-15)

        Throughout this process, the only changes which have actually made it into product are either so trivial as to be effectively invisible, or the polar opposite of what was actually requested.

        "As we look to 2019, we will be pursuing plans to continue to make the product more and more space efficient. We see this as a guiding design principle." (2018-12-15)

        This is absolutely not evident. If it were a guiding design principle, the compact mode would have been implemented within a month of work starting.

        We have spent 700 days (and more) telling you, showing you, and in some cases implementing prototypes of what we need. We could not be more clear. The support for this feature is overwhelming, and it's an option, so it won't disturb a single user who does not want to use it.

        As we go into 2019, we want to see:

        - A public commitment to implement this idea fully and as specified by the users.
        - A timeline for implementation.
        - A consultation process where we get to see what you are doing.
        - Deployment.

        You have had 700 days. Time to deliver.

      • MrMan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        feel like Microsoft has just slapped me in the face and said, how does that feel, like it, want another? After 2 years...goes back to planned what a joke.

        At the very least remove the freaking moats on either side. come on. resize splitter bar for channel bar on left? This is complicated? We have had splitter bars since VB6. Why not just have the reply button float on the left (or right) right next to post, or over the top of it when you hover?

        The reasoning is Open source developers? honestly? Why is that even in the list. What difference does it make to a professional that uses chat/IM/collaboration if they are open source or closed...its a tool.

        Just have a toogle like you have in outlook with "coming soon" but "Compact mode Beta". In outlook when I turn on the coming soon features the entire UI changes.

        I'm so embarrassed to show teams to my staff and have them look at this board. We use office 365 but will remain on slack until this is addressed. I would have a revolt on my hands. this is something they use every day and not just in passing, it is all day long.

        Its just great to have to spend $6K+ year more because MS decides after 2 years and all the feedback they want to have better animated emojis. I'm exaggerating obviously, but that is what it feels like

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The only meaningful engagement I have had with Teams is on social media. By airing our grievances here, we're just in a walled garden where no-one can see, and where we can be ignored with no consequence.

        Microsoft Teams is on Twitter (@MicrosoftTeams) and Facebook (

        Complaining there shines a light in public which is harder to ignore.

      • Lucas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        These user voice channels are like the Titanic, you turn the wheel here to see anything move in 20km

      • Lucas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "We are considering" ?
        Almost 8000 people asking for a basic feature, cmon guys FOCUS and Speed up !

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Are this compact mode will make the app easier to load? my current app that installed on my Windows 7 machine is sluggish compared to, say, Slack. Apart from that, in supporting this original post intention, I would very much like for Ms. team UI to be more simplified. Current setting is just not simple enough for senior workers to be able to adapt. You can take notes from Flock design but with better space management.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree on this. It's quite confusing for senior employee to differentiate between "start a new conversation" or to simply reply an existing conversation, why don't just make it look like Slack? it's simpler.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Forced to use Teams at work. Never would use it because of this issue if not forced to.

        Looks like you cloned most of slack. I would say. you should complete the process.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Tone deafness seems to be a consistent issue with Microsoft products. There seems to be a complete misunderstanding of what the customer actually wants. Our Microsoft sales people keep pushing for us to use Teams, but the reality is that none of our users want to because the interface is terrible. I volunteered to use our premium support hours to "pay" for someone to show on site and listen to our concerns around Teams and other products and it seems no one cares. I repeatedly spoke with multiple PMs in the Teams group, and they all make sympathetic vocal responses, but nothing ever changes. Suphatra, you can thank us for part of #MicrosoftTeams but we are not, this is like a restaurant owner that insists that the right recipe of grilled cheese included anchovies and then wondering why no one is buying the sandwich. Promising that in the next year or so you will consider adding sardines to your meals, is not actually addressing the problem, we'll continue eating elsewhere.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We DESPERATELY need compact mode. This HTML5-ish design is a huge waste of screen real estate.

      • Jeb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'd like to see the window collapse down to the icons in the left navigation of the thick client and expand as needed.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As to your "large" user base - I'm sorry I disagree with your statements about "one" size fits all. Apparently, your own management and product planning agrees with my point of view, otherwise the Windows Operating System and may of your other products wouldn't come in multiple versions (Home, Professional, Enterprise, etc.).

        Business Users require an efficient UI design. We should not be deprived of that experience because you are trying to satisfy High School Students. I'm not sure what Open Source Developers have to do with this. I fully understand visually impaired, but then have a separate UI setting for them. You do this in Windows itself, why isn't this feature propagated to Teams? You are crippling the ordinary business user's productivity on a daily basis by forcing an inefficient UI design upon everyone. Please consider a complete independent UI for business users based upon efficient design that can be "switched" to (or is the default).

      • I would like to use teams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Seriously? The large borders, moat, and whitespace between messages are likely of no benefit to any visual type or type of user. Conversely, when this product was designed, were those elements made the way they are to serve "high school students, the visually impaired, open source developers, and your every day knowledge worker", I don't think so, lets be honest. I think it was just a happenstance design that was not thought through. Slack can display much more information much more readably. Teams can only display a handful of messages vertically on a high resolution screen. The majority of space in Teams is taken up by blank space of no value. Larger high contrast *text*, not wasted space, may serve other visual user needs, that said, just make Teams follow the DPI setting in Windows which allows one to increase the size of text to suit their needs. The current visual UI was clearly a bad design, wasting valuable space with borders and whitespace to look cute or whatever the idea was or wasn't. Also the 'reply' button is placed *below* the message taking up even more space, rather than being placed to the side of the message. Every message has it's own reply button below it, wasting space on every message. It seems like these products are designed in some kind of corporate speak vacuum with too many people involved and no real UX designers, and then when they are just clearly no good, that can't be realized and effectively adjusted or fixed. This whole way of approaching product is likely related to the fate of Zune, Windows Phone, Windows 8, etc. Teams is chat, and chat needs to win with consumers in the way popular consumer technology products do. Microsoft is again stepping in to requiring a good consumer facing design with this product, which is where it's historically struggled. Enterprise software can look bad because people have to use it and have to get trained on it to do their job, they are paid to use it. Communication apps must be beautiful and efficient to get adopted. I went to migrate from Slack to Teams for my company and as soon as I saw the UI I knew I could not move the company to Teams for moral reasons, despite us being on 365 and Teams being better for all the integrative and logical reasons, if I put the Teams look and feel out to my company it would be a big negative hit to everyone purely because of the inefficient design and my company being used to Slack. I think this latest response and philosophy behind it is disappointing, and I'm sorry you were asked to write something like this. Everyone here cares so much because we all know eventually, due to sheer market dominance, we will all be using teams in the near future, and we'd like the application we stare at all day to communicate with those we talk to most, to not suck.

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Anonymous - "An amateur with a basic css knowledge could fix the **** Teams layout in one single day and make it better."

        Several did.

        A dedicated amateur, Emmanuel, made it work properly, in a couple of weekends.

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